To recap, when you are starting a new real estate investing business, there are 4 main steps you must complete to create your business’s foundation. If you are already an established investor, you may also need to complete one or more of these tasks if you are expanding your business or rebranding or just haven’t gotten around to them yet.
The 4 main steps you will need to complete to create your business include:
- Picking a Company Name
- Getting a Domain & Setting Up Professional Company Email (you can stop using your yahoo account!)
- Getting a Company Phone Number & Address
- Getting a Logo
A couple of things to consider when you are setting up a company mailing address for your real estate investing business:
- If you work out of your home, you DO NOT want to use your home address for your business address!
- You DO NOT want to send out marketing collateral, letters, have business cards printed or do any of the above WITHOUT a physical mailing address listed.
If your business is brand new, perhaps you are the only employee, or if you have been working out of your home over the years (tax deductions!), a P.O. Box is what I recommend you get for your business.
In my previous blog post I showed you how and why you should set up a professional company domain and email address…the same rule applies with a physical mailing address. Without a P.O. box or mailing address, it simply doesn’t give a feeling that your company is firmly established or even polished enough to know what you are doing. Remember, perception = reality. People want to do business with people they perceive to be professional and feel secure with and without a physical mailing address, it is hard for a perspective customer to relate to.
I’ve received collateral before that simply contained a company name and email address, which can seem sufficient since email is a primary contact method, however, in my opinion, it didn’t look legit without a physical address to trace back to. Since a person has to provide ID in order to get a P.O. box, and a company mailing address is required to set up a bank account and file taxes, it certainly provides a feeling of authenticity.
It is not very expensive at all to get a P.O. box and I personally suggest you spend the least amount of money you have to and go with the smallest box size option available. If a package comes for you that is too large for your P.O. Box, then the post office staff will hold it in the back for you and put a note in the P.O. box to let you know, so don’t worry that you will miss things. You can pay for the box on a yearly basis, it should come with 2 keys, and I also opt to set up the P.O. Box at the post office in the city I live in for convenience.
Another great thing about having a P.O. Box is that you can associate several businesses with it so in case you expand your offerings or perhaps someone else in your family runs their own business, they can use the P.O. Box number as well. I know some people think a P.O. Box does not provide that same feeling of authenticity as a street address does, and you can’t have FedEx or UPS sent to a P.O. Box, however, if you do not currently rent office space and your home address is your only option for a mailing address, then the P.O. Box is the best option. I do not advise that you use your personal home address in any situation to conduct business.
As For Getting a Company Phone Number…
Since your business as a real estate investor benefits from an easy to remember phone number, there are a few points to consider when you are picking a phone number to use.
1) 1-800 number or local number?
Personally, I feel a local phone number is the best option. If you are doing your real estate investing in the neighboring cities in which you live, I think a prospective buyer or seller is more likely to contact a phone number with a familiar area code.
You may need a 1-800 number if you are opting to use remote answering services or if you do business in numerous states. Sometimes the decision to use a 1-800 number is best based on geography and the number of office locations you run. The other thing with a 1-800 number is that they can be more expensive to set up since they will reach a greater territory.
However, if you are starting out as an investor, I suggest you go with a local number.
I also recommend you go with a landline phone number over a cell phone account for your business. If you plan to grow your business over time, you will eventually need another line and that is much easier to add onto an existing landline number than it is to add onto a cell phone account.
Besides, with a cell phone account, it certainly is more difficult for people other than you to be able to answer the phone ever. If you are preparing to add another line, then clearly your marketing is working, your business is growing and most importantly – people already know your number and you won’t want to have to go back and update all of your collateral, contact info, website, etc, from a cell phone number you once used.
In case you’ve only used a cell phone for as long as you can remember and aren’t familiar with the standard landline services these days, you can get voicemail, caller id, call forwarding and call waiting all for a couple of bucks a month. The call forwarding option is worth the money alone. When I know I will be away from my home office, I forward my business calls from my landline to my cell phone temporarily. You will also always be able to dial into your business voicemail and retrieve messages just like we do on our cell phones.
2) Should I spell something clever? (Aka get a “vanity” number?)
Since the majority of people make calls from their cell phones, and even more so, from their blackberries or smart devices, it is becoming less and less common to be able to spell on a dial pad…especially if the person is dialing on the go while driving.
If your phone number already spells something easy to remember such as (313) 225 –HOME for example, then be sure to include the digits that spell “HOME” so it reads “(313) 225-HOME(4663)”. Similar to purchasing a domain for your business, a vanity number can already be taken and can cost you thousands of dollars if you’d like to acquire it.
Now, I know that the large, established investors strongly advise you that the cost to purchase a vanity number is WELL WORTH it since you can get one deal out of it that cost justifies the price. However, I want you to spend money where it can quickly yield you the best results and as an investor with a new business, spending this kind of money on a phone number simply may not be realistic.
The best thing you can do is to have a number with repeating digits because this is the ultimate easy way to be remembered. Your options are limited to get repeating digits with a cell phone number, but by calling the phone company for a landline account and speaking with their business department, you have many, many more options for repeating digits.
Even if you can’t get (313) 333-3333 for example, going with (313) 514-4444, is a fantastic option. The least amount of different numbers, the better.
Both the 1-800 number and a “vanity” consideration are important when you consider marketing, such as on bandit signs or car magnets. If you use bandit signs as a way to generate leads, you may attract a person more quickly if they see that local area code. A person may feel like calling a 1-800 number is more unpredictable as to whom they will reach on the other end. Also, by having repeating digits, the chances are much higher that a person driving by at 30+ MPH or sitting at a stop light will remember the number even if they don’t have a pen and paper.
You should now have everything you need to know to when setting up your company address and phone number. It is a much better plan to have a mailing address and a dedicated business phone number to give your business more credibility.